The machines are coming and we are fighting back
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The inexorable rise and importance of technology is well documented. People love it.
Investors love it. Businesses love it. Children love it. If, like me and 27 million other people, you watched the robots from Boston Dynamics doing their dance to ‘Do you love me’, you’d have been dumb struck. But there’s a different story too here and it’s why, at Let’s Reset, we believe that creativity is one of the three keys to building a better future and helping outstanding performance.
Jack Ma made everyone at Davos sit up in 2019 when he reminded them that we now need to urgently learn the things that machines can’t do. ‘ We have to teach our kids something unique so that a machine can never catch up with us:independent thinking, music, painting and the arts to make sure humans are different from machines’, he said. And, of course, he’s right but it doesn’t stop there. If I’d been advising Jack Ma on his speech, I’d have told him to go one stage further and say that the world of work needs to continue to embrace creativity in the round too. Teams, individuals and organisations of the future will succeed and prosper through innovation, being curious and looking after their colleagues. In other words, by prioritising creativity.
Of course, you’ll tell me that it’s always been this way. Creativity has always mattered but today it’s under attack from a new threat. From the dancing robots through to a pandemic that has taught us all that it is possible to do business without seeing each other. It will be to the detriment of the wellbeing of the whole world if we begin to see this as normal.
Creativity flourishes through the exchange of ideas and the way we all interact is vital to this process.
There’s another problem too. If your son or daughter has any ambition to be a pilot, please help them find another dream. There won’t be many pilots by the time they start work. If they want to be a doctor, think about this: most diagnosis will be machine driven in a decade but the doctors in demand will be the ones who over-index on empathy and
communication skills in looking after the elderly, the very sick or the people whose
condition needs managing over time. Exactly the same is true for the law. Already, machines are solving cases through precedent and algorithm. The lawyers of the future will be the ones with incredible communication and creative problem-solving skills who compete with machines where there is no precedent or where the case has a complicated spider’s web of events. The world of work is going to change beyond recognition and we are letting children down everywhere if we don’t skill them creatively.
Don’t get me wrong. We love technology as much as anyone for the incredible strides that it has allowed humanity to make. Now’s the time though for us all to reassert what that humanity really is. At our best, we are capable of incredible creativity, life changing
empathy, extraordinary oratory and working with others to solve immensely complex and challenging problems. The only way that we can protect those things and take on the machines is to develop a generation of children and people in the workplace with all of those skills. Let’s get on with it.